ICE HOCKEY

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Mark Plum­mer ICE HOCKEY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Head coach Slava Koulikov has warned Phan­toms’ ri­vals in NIHL Di­vi­sion One South that his side are only three-quar­ters of the way to reach­ing their full po­ten­tial.

The city side have made a ter­rific start to life in the sport’s new sec­ond tier, reel­ing off vic­to­ries in their opening five league games and also tri­umph­ing in two dif­fer­ent cup com­pe­ti­tions last week­end.

It is a run of re­sults which has nat­u­rally pleased Koulikov, but he ad­mits it is noth­ing more than he ex­pected at this stage of the cam­paign.

“We’re happy with where we are at,” said Koulikov.

“We have won the games I ex­pected us to win and we also slipped up in the one where we thought that might hap­pen – away at Hull in the cup.

“As much as we are do­ing well, we can still do so much bet­ter. We’re only be­tween 70-75 per cent of the way there now.

“We are nowhere near to be­ing a fin­ished prod­uct and we’ve not even been close to hav­ing a com­plete per­for­mance as yet.

“We have so much qual­ity but we need to iron out the lit­tle in­con­sis­ten­cies we’ve seen so far.

“We’re aware that some in­di­vid­u­als are not play­ing to their best quite yet and we also re­alise that cer­tain things still need to be worked on as a team.

“We’re play­ing more of­fen­sive hockey but we have to find the right bal­ance and en­sur­ing we don’t make games too open.

“It’s a fine line, but if we per­form in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively to the level I be­lieve we can, we will stand a good chance in all games.

“We want to win ev­ery game and ev­ery tro­phy we can.”

Phan­toms avenged their sole loss so far when thump­ing Hull 11-6 last Saturday in the NIHL National Cup Group B re­turn clash.

They fol­lowed up with a 5-1 tri­umph at Sh­effield the fol­low­ing day in their first NIHL Au­tumn Cup out­ing.

Their at­ten­tion re­turns to league mat­ters this week­end with a Saturday home date against In­victa at Planet Ice (7pm) ahead of a Sun­day visit to Streatham (6.45pm).

They are two sets of op­po­nents who Koulikov in­sists must be treated with re­spect.

He added: “In­victa beat Swin­don in over­time last month so that shows what they are ca­pa­ble of do­ing.

“Streatham also showed they are a strong team when they came to our rink.

“Al­though we even­tu­ally won the game 5-2, it was 0-0 un­til the fi­nal minute of the first pe­riod and they got it back to 2-1 at one stage of the sec­ond pe­riod.”

PIC­TURES: TOM SCOTT

Cap­tain James Fer­rara cel­e­brates an­other goal against Hull Pi­rates with team-mate Owen Grif­fiths.

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